We were all set to drive to Orlando on the Saturday after Thanksgiving, when Sam found super cheap airline tickets about a week before, so we all ended up flying there. I have to say, the thought of driving for two days there, and two days back wasn't something I was looking forward to, and considering the cost of a rental car, fuel, parking at the hotel and at Disney, I think we came out ahead, even with paying for the airport shuttle to the hotel (we used Uber to get to Disney). We flew out of D/FW airport, and hit the only snag of the trip there - our flight was delayed for several hours. We were ready to settle in and wait with the other passengers, but Sam decided we needed to hang out in the Admiral's Club and boy was that nice! It's expensive, and not something we'd probably ever do on our own, so this was a fun experience and we made the most of it - about the only thing we didn't do was shower there - but we could have!
Free drinks (including alcohol), snacks, soup, dessert - we tried everything!
This sign was so pretty at night!
We finally got on our way and arrived in Orlando in the evening. We took a shuttle to the hotel, and what a fun hotel it was! The Cabana Bay beach resort is a throwback to the 1960s era in design and it felt very familiar to Jeff and I. It's only been open for a couple of years so it's still super clean and sparkling. We had two regular rooms booked, but when we checked in, the staff upgraded us to family suites at no extra charge; our rooms were right next to each other and we even had an inside door between the rooms so we could go back and forth without having to go outside.
Our sitting area - the couch is a sleeper sofa. And I can attest that it worked great for some power naps!
View from the adjoining doorway - a little bit of the kitchenette is showing. There was a nice sized refrigerator, a microwave, and a coffee maker included.
Bedroom - plenty of space to spread out.
Bathroom - shower and sink on one side, then another sink, then a third room with the toilet. This was nice - we didn't feel like we were constantly bumping into each other while we were getting ready.
OK, I have to admit, this really charmed me - they went old school with the soap and shampoo, and I loved it. I also had the Zest jingle going through my head the entire week ("You're not fully clean unless you're ZESTfully clean!")(you're welcome for that, haha).
Our rooms were in the Starlight wing.
The resort has two pools, complete with a waterslide and a lazy river, a hot tub, beach lounges in sand, and of course an outdoor bar for your beverage needs. Jeff and the kadults went swimming several times but I only used the hot tub, and boy did that feel good on my tired feet and legs!
The food court is called the Bayliner Diner, and I have to say the food was pretty good! You could get a variety of items; they even had a salad bar. We had several meals there - the pricing was already reasonable for a hotel, but we also got 10% off everything because we had annual passes to the park. Since we were there for so long, we bought refillable cups that had a RFID chip in them - once we paid for the cups, we could have all the soft drinks, iced tea, coffee, hot chocolate, and Icees that we wanted, for free - the chip made the machines work to dispense the beverages:
We got our money's worth with these cups!
Loved the retro design of the Galaxy Bowl!
There is also a bowling alley and an arcade room at the resort; we didn't bowl, but we did play in the arcade room a couple of times, which was fun:
I also played this game - my first shot went over the machine! Oops.
While the resort is only about a half mile from Universal Studios, we opted to ride the free shuttle there, just to save our feet and legs - we knew we'd be walking a ton at the park. It was fun to walk by the old cars parked in front of the resort as we made our way to the shuttle bus:
I wish I could have parked my Mini next to the blue car for a size comparison - these cars were huge!
Since it was after Thanksgiving, the resort was decorated for Christmas:
They also played old-school Christmas music, along with regular old-school music.
Except for the hotel in Maui, we've never stayed at a resort like this, where everyone there is on vacation. It was super relaxing and a great immersive experience - we never turned on the TV, and thanks to the poor signal strength from Sprint, we mostly stayed off the internet, which meant we got to forget/ignore what was happening in the rest of the world for a little while. This was a great place for a vacation and I highly recommend it, if you're planning a trip to Orlando!
Next up - walking, walking, walking. And also the theme parks! Stay tuned!